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And see his slave, the muscles, the strength  why, he could carry his master on his back all the way to
Jikaida City if he had to.
Truly, Scatulo s personal slave was a powerfully built diff, a Brukaj with immense rounded shoulders
and a hunched-forward head with a forceful face with more than a passing resemblance to that of a
bulldog. The Brukajin possess legs rather on the short side, it is true; but they are determined, dogged,
and I had been pleased to have them serve in any of the armies I had commanded on Kregen. As is to be
expected from their natures they are superb in the defense. They are as dissimilar as one could imagine
from the Tryfants, who attack with enormous lan, and in retreat merely rout, running every which way.
The Brukajin are not to be confused with the Brokelsh, whose thick mat of coarse body hair
complements their generally coarse ways of carrying on. I have good friends among the Brokelsh, and I
was intrigued to notice the protocol that existed between the Brokelsh in the caravan and this slave of
Scatulo s, this powerful but docile Brukaj, who wag called Bevon.
Not for Bevon the Brukaj, as a slave, the privilege of a descriptive appendage to his name;
Deb-Lu-Quienyin s slave chattering to himself in his brown blanket coat was crowingly conscious of his
descriptive name, the Ladle. The Wizard of Loh was good-natured enough to be pleased at this.
 Since my accident, young man, he confided to me as we jogged along under the Suns of Scorpio,
tasting the sweetness of the air, watching the ominous countryside.  I have not been the man I was. Time
has Entrapped me in Her Coils.
I gathered that the accident, the exact nature of which he did not specify, although it sounded as though
he had tried some magic too powerful to be contained, had deprived him of enough of his wizardly
powers as seriously to jeopardize his life style. He could not, for instance, go into lupu and spy out events
and people at a distance. There were other powers he had lost. He was resigned to them in a bittersweet
way, talking of his misfortunes and of life in capital letters. He was a humorous old boy, not strong, proud
as are all Wizards of Loh, and yet much on the defensive after the accident.
After a trifling brush with drikingers who drew off after the caravan guards shot their leader, we found
we had water trouble. The bandits had shot deliberately at the water barrels fixed to the wagon. The
amphorae they smashed with ease. The wooden staves of the barrels resisted; but enough were pierced
through to cause Ineldar the Kaktu, the caravan master, to put us all on quarter rations until the next
water hole.
This caused trouble.
Two days later we were all hot, dusty, dry  and thirsty.
And an event occurred that brought me vividly face to face with the Meaning of Life.
Chapter Eleven
Prince Mefto the Kazzur
 By Horato the Potent! exclaimed Pompino.  I am drier than a corpse s shinbone.
I said nothing but sucked on my pebble.
The caravan wended along, a brightly colored succession of carriages and wagons, with clumps of
people, apim and diff, trudging along in the dust, and the outriders flanking us, their weapons ready.
Ineldar the Kaktu had been wroth with his caravan guards, although, in all honesty, they had fought well
and driven the drikingers off. But we all guessed we had not seen the last of those skulking rasts. Before
we reached the water-hole they would attack again  with a new leader in command, no doubt.
When a straggling line of black dots showed in the southern sky I felt the muscles beside my eyes
tighten. At bellowed commands the caravan halted at once. Dust hung about us, slowly dissipating.
Everyone stared aloft, to the south, away from the twin suns. Those flyers there must be flutsmen, out
reiving, and if they attacked us we d be caught between two foes. But, and I do not think the flutsmen
missed seeing us, the big birds wheeled away in the air and soon vanished. Probably they were in
insufficient strength to attack our caravan, which was clearly large and well protected.
This being Havilfar, one would expect many flyers to be seen. That group was the only one we saw on
the journey. The exigencies of the war being waged against mad Empress Thyllis of Hamal demanded
hordes of flyers and the land here was almost denuded. The same was true of vollers and we saw not
one. Some of the countries of the Dawn Lands manufacture their own fliers, and these were in constant
demand and short supply. Hamal, as I knew to my bitter cost, had a stranglehold on that particular
industry.
We were traveling generally westward toward the rugged chains of mountains running through the heart
of Havilfar. These were the same mountains that in their northern reaches the Hamalese call the
Mountains of the West, and against which nestles Paline Valley. But that was around four hundred and
fifty dwaburs north. We were about halfway between the River Os north of us and the Shrouded Sea to
the south. In their southern extremities the mountains swing somewhat to the west and beyond them lie
broad rivers and wide lakes, all terra incognito to me. The folk in the caravan called the mountains there
 for they have a plethora of names, as common sense must indicate by reason of their extent  the
Snowy Mountains.
We were within a day or so of the water hole and the drikingers had not attacked us again.
A group of brilliantly attired riders went past the caravan at a good clip, apparently reckless of our short
water supply situation. They had ridden out in defiance when the flutsmen vanished. I had asked Sishi
about them and their leader soon after the caravan had started on its journey.
There was no gainsaying their splendid appearance. There were some twenty of them, clustered about
their leader. They were diff and apim; the leader was a Kildoi. He reminded me so much of Korero that I [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]